FIVE MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM VONN’S CAREER
--2002, Salt Lake City Olympics: Few had heard of young Lindsey Kildow when she made her Olympic debut at age 17. She gave a taste of what was to come when she placed sixth in combined, the best finish by an American woman in Alpine skiing at those Winter Games. Vonn also showed off the slalom chops she honed at Buck Hill, finishing 32nd in that event.
--2006, Turin Olympics: In one of the clearest displays of the resolve that would anchor her career, Vonn finished eighth in the downhill just days after a horrific training crash. Doctors feared she had broken her back when she was airlifted off the mountain. She talked her way out of the hospital, and despite intense pain, she managed top-15 performances in three events. Vonn was given the Olympic Spirit Award for her perseverance.
--2008, first World Cup overall title: Vonn won the circuit’s overall championship four times, the most ever by an American. The 2008 crown kicked off a run of three in a row during a period of unsurpassed dominance. She won nine of her 20 World Cup season championships between 2008 and 2010, cementing her status as a global superstar and the most decorated woman in U.S. skiing history.
--2010, Olympic gold in the downhill: When Vonn was 10, she met her idol--American skiing star Picabo Street--during an autograph signing at a Twin Cities ski shop. She decided then that she would work hard enough to be as fast as Street, a drive that would put her at the top of the Olympic podium. Vonn won downhill gold at the Vancouver Games, the best finish by a U.S. woman in the Olympic downhill since Street’s silver in 1994—and still the only Winter Games downhill gold for an American woman.
--2015, another comeback and another record: One of the worst of Vonn’s many gruesome crashes happened at the 2013 world championships, when she tore ligaments and fractured the tibial plateau in her right knee. Months of excruciating rehab allowed her a brief return before she injured the knee again, knocking her out of the 2014 Olympics. But she wasn’t done yet. Vonn resumed competition in late 2014 and won her 63rd World Cup race, breaking Annemarie Moser-Proell’s all-time women’s record, then added season titles in the downhill and super-G.